NORTHSTAR partners with Forest Park and West Iron high schools to provide free, life-saving ImPACT concussion testing.

Kim Bjork, NHS PTA, is seen here with Forest Park student Samantha Nylund. Kim is performing a balance screen which is used as a baseline test to screen balance. It is a four-part static standing test that measures postural sway in four different sensory conditions. If a patient was to suffer a concussion this test allows us to assess the affects the injury has on their balance and compare that to their baseline results.

The students from West Iron are taking part in a computerized test that looks at memory, retention, reaction time and attention.

NORTHSTAR is yet again partnering with the local schools. This time it is in an effort to provide high school student athletes with a baseline ImPACT concussion testing (ICT) at no cost to them.

There are between an estimated 1.6 and 3.8 million sports-related concussions in the United States every year, leading The Centers for Disease Control (C.D.C.) to conclude that sports concussions in the United States have reached an "epidemic level."

ImPACT is an important tool in the comprehensive management of concussions. ImPACT assists in the recognition of a concussion, understanding its severity and assisting in the determination of return to play. "said Teresa Graff, NHS Physical Therapist who has a special interest in ICT. She attended the U.P. Concussion Summit last summer and was integral in making this a service that NHS provides our student athletes.

ImPACT is a 20 minute computerized test that objectively measures a concussed athlete and allows a clinical team to track that individual's recovery and better determine when return to play is indicated. ImPACT measures individuals cognitive/brain functioning based on attention span and time, working memory, problem solving and reaction time. NHS personnel were on-site at each school implementing the test to all high school athletes.

"We have been looking into doing this for a while now so it was really great when NHS approached us offering this service. We've revised our athletic policies to reflect that each student must have the baseline test before participating in sports. We care about our students." said Mike Berutti, High School Principal & Athletic Director at West Iron.

According to NHS Public Relations/Foundation Director Peg James, "We are really excited to be able to bring this into our schools. Our continued effort to promote wellness in our communities expands even further as we support our student athletes through ICT. This outreach will be extended to other school districts next year which further demonstrates our commitment to community health."

"The partnership between Forest Park and NHS has been great. We have really benefited from their care for our community. One of the other things they do for our student athletes is the free sports clinics on Monday mornings which is a nice resource for us.", said Dobie Anderson, Athletic Director at Forest Park.

Student athletes have access to a free sports clinic every Monday morning from 8a to 9a at both NHS Genesee in Iron River and NHS Crystal Falls in Crystal Falls. This is open to all athletes who sustain an injury and would like it assessed by NHS Physical Therapy personnel.

ImPACT concussion testing was pioneered by Mark Lovell, M.D. who is a nationally renowned sports concussion researcher who oversees the neuropsychological testing programs for the National Football League and the National Hockey League. Dr. Lovell recognized the need to standardize concussion testing and brought it first to the NFL. From the NFL, his technique was adopted at the collegiate level and now in the high school level as well.

ICT baseline testing data is collected every other year and immediately after the event of a concussion. As it stands right now, all high school athletes were tested this year and any retesting will be conducted every two years (freshman and juniors) and following the event of a concussion.

For more information on ICT, please call Teresa at 906-265-5423.